1. What is asbestos and how does it cause mesothelioma?
Asbestos is a heat- and fire-resistant insulating material that was widely used in construction, shipbuilding, and the automotive industry after 1945 and through the 1970s. Workers breathed in the tiny fibers that comprise asbestos. Those fibers entered their pleura, the lining of the chest cavity and lung, and damaged its cells. Mesothelioma develops over a long period of between 15 and 40 years. Research has also shown that family members and others living with workers exposed to asbestos are at an increased risk of developing mesothelioma.
2. Should everyone have an SMRP test to screen for mesothelioma?
The test is not intended for or useful as a general screening tool but only to help evaluate those who have already been diagnosed with mesothelioma. Since mesothelioma is a very rare cancer, most people will never need to have this test performed.
This article was last reviewed on March 6, 2012. | This article was last modified on September 27, 2013.
The review date indicates when the article was last reviewed from beginning to end to ensure that it reflects the most current science. A review may not require any modifications to the article, so the two dates may not always agree.
The modified date indicates that one or more changes were made to the article. Such changes may or may not result from a full review of the article, so the two dates may not always agree.